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Looking back across Embleton Bay to Dunstanburgh Castle
Looking back across Embleton Bay to Dunstanburgh Castle

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Route No. 662 - Saturday 25 March 2017
Embleton Bay, Dunstan Steads, Dunstan Square,
The Heughs, Craster, Dunstanburgh Castle circuit
8km - Northumberland Coast . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 332 Alnwick & Amble


Looking back to the road side parking below Dunstan Steads where our walk begins
Looking back to the road side parking below Dunstan Steads where our walk begins

Turning off the road to the bridleway through Dunstan Steads
Turning off the road to the bridleway through Dunstan Steads

Just below Dunstan Steads there is a popular road side parking area giving access to Embleton Bay where my description of this walk starts. From the parking area, map ref. NU 244 224, we walked up the road to Dunstan Steads.

My wife & I are spending this week in a holiday cottage on the Northumberland coast near Embleton at Dunstan Steads overlooking Embleton Bay. We have our daughter's dog Max, a black laborador, with us. This morning the weather was perfect with bright sunshine, clear blue sky and a cool breeze.

The bridleway through Dunstan Steads
The bridleway through Dunstan Steads

Dunstanburgh Castle seen from the bridleway at Dunstan Steads
Dunstanburgh Castle seen from the bridleway at Dunstan Steads

Bridleway along a concrete farm road from Dunstan Steads
Bridleway along a concrete farm road from Dunstan Steads

WW2 bunker built from concrete filled sand bags
WW2 bunker built from concrete filled sand bags

A little further on there was a World War 2 bunker made from hessian bags filled with a concrete mix and stacked together to form the walls. To our right there was a distant view of the snow capped Cheviot Hills.

Here we turned left off the road to follow a public bridleway along the farm access road through Dunstan Steads. South of Dunstan Steads it was easy going along the concrete farm road. We continued along the farm road past an old structure that looked to me like an old farm lime kiln.

Old farm lime kiln by the farm road
Old farm lime kiln by the farm road

Heading for Dunstan Square along the farm road
Heading for Dunstan Square along the farm road

Snow on the distant Cheviot Hills seen from the farm road
Snow on the distant Cheviot Hills seen from the farm road

Arriving at Dunstan Square
Arriving at Dunstan Square

Path across the fields to The Heugh
Path across the fields to The Heugh

This striking feature is called The Heughs which means a steep bank or precipice. At the foot of The Heughs we kept straight on to climb the path over The Heughs towards the coast.

About 1.3km from Dunstan Steads we reached the next farm at Dunstan Square. Here we turned left to follow a public footpath to the gorse covered bank about 250m away.

Our left turn at Dunstan Square towards The Heugh
Our left turn at Dunstan Square towards The Heugh

Nearing The Heugh
Nearing The Heugh

Following the track over The Heugh
Following the track over The Heugh

Dunstanburgh Castle seen from the field below The Heugh
Dunstanburgh Castle seen from the field below The Heugh

Our first view of Craster across the fields
Our first view of Craster across the fields

Path between the wall & gorse bank nearing Craster
Path between the wall & gorse bank nearing Craster

The path veered inland a little and continued with a stone field wall on our left. As we neared Craster the path passed between the wall and a steep gorse covered bank and then turned left between fences for about 50m out to a road called Norwell Brow on the edge of Craster.

From The Heughs we had a fine view of the coast and Dunstanburgh Castle to our left. From the top of The Heughs we dropped down across the field for about 100m to the edge of the field and then turned right to follow the path across the open grassland towards Craster.

Heading towards Craster across the open grassland
Heading towards Craster across the open grassland

Stile on the path near Craster
Stile on the path near Craster

Fenced path down to Norwell Brow
Fenced path down to Norwell Brow

Walking down Norwell Brow to West End & the harbour in Craster
Walking down Norwell Brow to West End & the harbour in Craster

Walking along West End to the harbour in Craster
Walking along West End to the harbour in Craster

Looking across the harbour to Dunstanburgh Road in Craster
Looking across the harbour to Dunstanburgh Road in Craster

We got a week's supply of those gorgeous Craster Kippers to take back to our cottage. Just across the road from the kipper shop is the pub, the Jolly Fisherman. We sat in the beer garden there for our lunch with a lovely view up the coast to Dunstanburgh Castle.

We walked along Norwell Brow to the main road into Craster called West End and followed this road around the harbour where it's name changes to Haven Hill. On our right on Haven Hill we called at Robson's smoke house & kipper shop.

Walking round the harbour to Haven Hill in Craster
Walking round the harbour to Haven Hill in Craster

View from the beer garden at The Jolly Fisherman in Craster
View from the beer garden at The Jolly Fisherman

Leaving the Jolly Fisherman in Craster after our lunch
Leaving the Jolly Fisherman in Craster after our lunch

Looking back across the harbour from Dunstanburgh Road
Looking back across the harbour from Dunstanburgh Road

The coast path to Dunstanburgh Castle
The coast path to Dunstanburgh Castle

Both St. Oswald's Way and the Northumberland Coast Path follow this route northwards from Craster. About 1.3km from the end of Dunstanburgh Road we came to another gate (map ref. NU257 213).

After our lunch we retraced our steps down Haven Hill and turned right around the harbour along Dunstanburgh Road. At the end of the road there is a gate leading onto the open coastal grassland and the path to Dunstanburgh Castle.

Start of the path from the end of Dunstanburgh Road
Start of the path from the end of Dunstanburgh Road

The coast path to Dunstanburgh Castle
The coast path to Dunstanburgh Castle

Through this gate we took the left hand path around the western side of the castle. The right hand path goes to the castle entrance
Through this gate we took the left hand path around the western side of the castle. The right hand path goes to the castle entrance

Dunstanburgh Castle
Dunstanburgh Castle

Path around the western side of Dunstanburgh Castle
Path around the western side of Dunstanburgh Castle

(Note: both English Heritage and the National Trust web sites have information about the castle) We continued along the path around the castle and back to the coast north of the castle.

Through the gate we kept to the path bearing left around the base of the castle. The path to our right continues around the coast and up to the entrance to the castle which is worth a visit.

Path around the western side of Dunstanburgh Castle
Path around the western side of Dunstanburgh Castle

Back on the coast to the north of Dunstanburgh Castle
Back on the coast to the north of Dunstanburgh Castle

The coast path approaching Embleton Bay
The coast path approaching Embleton Bay

High water at Embleton Bay
High water at Embleton Bay

Path from the beach through the dunes
Path from the beach through the dunes

Path from the beack to the parking area
Path from the beach to the parking area

We left the beach following the path up through the sand dunes and across the golf links back to the parking area below Dunstan Steads and the end of our walk. The whole route had been about 8km and including a leisurely lunch stop it had taken us about three and a half hours.

It was close to high tide but there was still some dry beach so after a few hundred metres we dropped down onto the beach where the dog went crazy in the water. We walked along the beach and let the dog play for a while.

High water at Embleton Bay
High water at Embleton Bay

Path from the beach across the golf links
Path from the beach across the golf links

Sign on the gate as we reached the parking area
Sign on the gate as we reached the parking area

The end of our walk back at the road side parking below Dunstan Steads
The end of our walk back at the road side parking below Dunstan Steads

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